Stanwood Short-eared Owls

Short-eared owls have returned to one of their regular winter locations near Stanwood, Washington, and I recently spent a great afternoon photographing some of these amazing birds.

A Short-eared Owl near Stanwood, Washington.
Short-eared Owl

The owls get active during the late afternoon and begin to hunt over the open fields.

A Short-eared Owl near Stanwood, Washington.
Short-eared Owl
A Short-eared Owl near Stanwood, Washington.
Short-eared Owl Looking for Dinner

After several hours of shooting, it got too dark to take good photographs, so I finished up with a silhouette shot into the setting sun.

A Short-eared Owl near Stanwood, Washington.
Short-eared Owl Silhouette

There was also a Northern Shrike in the area, and I was happy to get a photo of a Shrike for only my second time.

A Northern Shrike near Stanwood, Washington.
Northern Shrike

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Great photos! I just upgraded my camera (canon 5d mark iv) and while I generally shoot landscapes, I would love to photograph owls…I’m trying to figure out what equipment and settings to use. My 5d can only get up to about 7fps so I’m encouraged to see that you got great shots with 6fps (did I read that correctly?). Do you have any recommendations for lenses? I’m a little beyond my ability here, but it’s always good to stretch and grow, right?

    1. Hi Heather,

      For birds you pretty much need at least a 300mm lens, and preferably more like 400mm to 600mm. But big prime lenses in those focal lengths are very expensive, running as much as $10,000 or more. So I use a zoom lens which is lighter and easier to carry and much less expensive. I have a Nikon 80-400mm zoom that has been my primary bird lens for the last few years. For Canon there is an equivalent 100-400mm lens that I see many people using. I also just got a new Nikon 200-500mm lens which will give me more reach. The most bang for your buck with a Canon camera would be the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary zoom lens, which costs around $1,000, and would give you plenty of reach for birds. One drawback is that it is an f6.3 lens at 600mm, so you do need decent light to get good photos. If you want to spend a bit more (around $2,000) and get an f5.6 lens, the Canon 100-400mm lens is a great way to go. Let me know if you have more questions!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Menu